A hyena bites off a buffalo's testicles

At the Aberdare National Park, all is not well. Hyenas are hungry and now angry, and with no much to scavenge on, they have gained the balls to dare the beasts.

In this desperate situation, they have resorted to go after the low-hanging fruits only the jungle can provide: biting off buffalo testicles and tails as food.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) has raised the red flag over the issue, which has left a number of the wild beasts nursing wounds and wondering what has gone into the heads of park-mates that were previously harmless to them, in a strange turn of events that could be caused by a disconnect in the food chain.

The Aberdare National Park Senior Warden, Ms Lilian Ajuoga, says that the strange phenomenon, first reported in 2008, has been escalating lately, with hyena keeping the eyes on the ball, quite literally!

“The incidences of hyenas biting of testicles and tails of buffaloes are everyday occurrences in the national park.  Tens of buffaloes are partly deformed after hyenas chewed off some parts,” The senior warden is quoted as saying by The Standard.

Ms Ajuoga said that the incidences are as a result of imbalance in the eco-system occasioned by lack of lions in the park which has left the hyenas without any leftovers to feed on. “In this case, hyenas are forced to hunt instead of scavenging on leftovers that have been left by other predators. This forces them to hunt on easily available things and since they lack the power to strangle, they depend on biting off hanging parts for survival,” she said.

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KWS is now planning to launch a headcount of the animals as a measure to arrest the situation that has exposed the buffaloes to the scavengers and may threaten their reproduction.

Worry not: One healthy buffalo with can still mate with 50 females and successfully sire.

“We are planning on a doing an animal count so as to establish the number of hyenas for purposes of management to avoid cases of unsustainability. This will also help in boosting survival for both hyenas and buffaloes,” Ms Ajuoga said.

She added that translocation of lions to the park will put an end to the situation.

What’s more, KWS is also mooting deploying researchers at the national park who will be tasked with studying the problem and making recommendations before any action is taken.

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“This thing has been on-going for a while but that does not mean the population of buffaloes is going down. One healthy buffalo with intact organs can still mate with 50 females and successfully sire,” said Kenya Wildlife Service Assistant Director in charge of Mountain Areas Simon Gitau.



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